York’s industrial heritage received a £150,000 boost this week with the start of vital work to preserve and restore the historic former Terry’s chocolate factory and prevent further deterioration of its neglected listed buildings.

New joint-owner and developer of The Chocolate Works, Henry Boot Developments Limited, has begun safeguarding work with the appointment of contractors to make the iconic buildings watertight and protected from vandalism. Demolition Services Ltd began erecting perimeter fencing this week and hopes to complete the boundary security within the next seven days. In the meantime, security at the site has been stepped up.

Ben Ward, senior development surveyor at Henry Boot Developments, said: “We are really excited for the potential of the Chocolate Works site. The preservation work marks the first stage of the Chocolate Works’ transformation. Our work will include making the site perimeter safe and securing the development site.

“A long period of dereliction has sadly left its mark on the listed buildings with vandalism and water ingress causing extensive damage. This work programme will halt the deterioration of the listed buildings to ensure they are preserved for the future as we seek to attract inward investors.

“In particular, we will make safe and secure the former HQ building. Before we acquired the site, it had suffered extensive damage through vandalism.”

Henry Boot Developments and York based housebuilder David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East bought the site in April. The 27 acre Chocolate Works is one of the most high profile sites in the region given its manufacturing history, scale, desirable location and unfulfilled potential.

The initial preservation work programme is estimated to be completed by the end of June 2013. Meanwhile, Henry Boot Developments will continue its negotiations with interested parties regarding the future occupancy within the extensive commercial site. The Chocolate Works has a minded to grant planning consent for a variety of uses including residential units, offices, hotels and shops, with mainly residential development on the north side of the site.